Barley Mowat 

What The Hell Is This Bullshit?

with 6 comments

Warning: This blog contains high levels of weaponized beer nerd rage. Read at your own risk.

The people are, en mass, fucking morons.
Glen Clark, Former British Columbia Premier

OK, fine, he never said it. But when I was the editor of my university newspaper I said it, attributed it to him, and published it, so that’s the same thing right? What’s that? Speak english, I have no idea what def-un-mation of kar-ec-tor is.

Questions and uncertainty about the origin of the above statement aside, none of this changes the fact that it’s true. People are idiots. Idiots of the worst kind imaginable. Mouth-breathing semi-conscious cretins of the sort that make top-40 music, reality TV, and massive credit card debt all seem like great ways to run an economy.

All this leads me to the topic of The Georgia Straight’s recently published Golden Plate Awards. These awards are (or should be) intended to shine a rewarding light upon local businesses deserving of the extra attention for providing a quality product. Instead, they really just flip that light around and shine it squarely on society’s love affair with mediocrity and brand-based purchasing decisions. Don’t believe me? Here are some cherry-picked highlights to illustrate my point:

Best Canadian Beer brewed outside B.C.
1. Alexander Keith’s — The hell is what?

Best Imported Beer
1. Heineken — 2 and 3 ain’t much better, either. At least pick something not, you know, awful.

Best B.C. Beer brewed outside Vancouver
1. Kokanee — One can only imagine the number of spoilt ballots by morons not knowing where Molson is brewed
2. Okanagan Springs Pale Ale — Also, guys, this is brewed on Annacis Island. Sure it’s just past the border, but I think we meant Lower Mainland.

Best Microbrewery Local
1. Granville Island Brewing — Sorry, also brewed non-locally. Plus lots of better breweries in the mix.

Best Locally Brewed Beer
1. Granville Island Lions Winter Ale — Whaaaa? So much wrong with this choice!
2. Stanley Park Amber (Hell’s Gate Brewing) — Sweet mother of gord, how does this even factor? And who’d they bribe to get their brewery explicitly pointed out? How much more to get “Ask for it by name!”?

Best B.C. Brewery Outside Vancouver
1. Okanagan Springs — OK, I give up. I just… give up.

I could go on. And it includes more than just beer: Yellow Tail & Mission HIll get best red wine awards. Cactus Club wins over 20 freaking times. Cactus Fucking Club. I’ll let that sink in. Even McDonald’s snags one. The sheer mass of insipid, boring and just plain bad choices in ALL categories is almost overwhelming to contemplate.

Now, there are some glimmers of hope in that mix. Driftwood shows up in the “Best B.C. Brewery Outside Vancouver”; Central City gets a nod for locally brewed Micro; beer houses like the Alibi and St Augustine’s also show up. But what we don’t see is the crushing weight of votes for the top choices. For every one of us that despises it as banal corn swill that likely makes you infertile, there are 10 people out there that think Molson Canadian is the best thing ever produced by man.

Some people would like to celebrate what ground we’ve gained this year (and we have gained ground), and I can’t say that’s a bad approach. It’s just not my style so I’ll leave it to better people than I. I’m a grumpy, angry, bitter bearded beer geek who looks down on society from high atop my lofty perch of self-righteousness. Being happy to just make the list only tells 1/2 of the story, as for every time we talk about how Phillips tied for first place in Best non-locally brewed beer, someone will immediately point out that they tied with Kokanee. And frankly, I’m not sure tying for first on a list that seems to celebrate crappy beer is a reward to be proud of. So congrats Phillips, your Blue Buck is as good as Kokanee, but hey, at least you’re a little better than Whistler.

Just getting one of the BC small macros more mainstream beers on the list is not enough. Not nearly enough. How can the truly interesting beers (think Singularity, Woolly Bugger, Deckhand) stand a chance? The sheer size of the monumental task of getting craft beer recognized as something more than an amusing niche just makes me have days like this, where I stare at the wall for hours on end and weep quietly for the plight of humanity.

/PS Yes, I know that CAMRA’s latest Fest of Ale sold out in 11 hours yesterday. But that’s only 100 tickets in a city of 3 milllion, folks, and I’m directly responsible for 10 of those. (Aside: Free taster as commission? No?) Put up 1000 tickets for a $10 Nickelback show and compare the results.

//PPS I’ve had a few folk ask me if I’m blaming the Straight. Riiiight. They rigged the vote, I guess? Of course my rant at society in general in the context of a vote on popular culture isn’t a criticism of the publisher of that vote. The fact this rant exists is proof enough they’re doing the vote right.

Written by chuck

March 24th, 2011 at 10:50 am

Posted in Beer and You

6 Responses to 'What The Hell Is This Bullshit?'

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  1. right on — the straight sold out so many years ago that it’s hard to remember what a solid local culture mag it used to be. Therea

    Island Vittles

    24 Mar 11 at 11:04

  2. Amen. Absolutely ridiculous. I was waiting for your response after reading about the Golden Palate Awards. We still got a long way to go I guess. See you at the fest of ales.


    24 Mar 11 at 13:00

  3. They do rig the vote actually. They count advertising dollars spent more than write in ballots. I’ve heard more than one small business owner complain about that. It’s as blatant as “and if you spend this much, you get a place in our “best of” issue”.


    24 Mar 11 at 15:58

  4. @Foaner — If that’s the case, I have to wonder how much $$ it would take to get the Shark Club listed in Best Beer Selection. But perhaps the Straight once remembers what journalistic integrity was… or maybe just its shape or something, but enough to not go THAT far.


    24 Mar 11 at 17:03

  5. […] just as shocked as he was that I felt… nothing. Nothing at all. Last year, I was a little bit taken back at the results. This year, […]

  6. […] just as shocked as he was that I felt… nothing. Nothing at all. Last year, I was a little bit taken back at the results. This year, […]

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